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Documentary

Footsteps: How an Isolated Artificial Home in Ontario Produces Sound for Myriad Blockbuster Films

May 21, 2021

Grace Ebert

A modest house nestled into the bucolic countryside of Uxbridge, Ontario, is home to a premier sound facility behind an impressive array of films, TV series, and video games. Brimming with an eclectic collection of objects and antiques, Footsteps Studio has aided in the post-production audio effects for projects like The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Big Short, and The Handmaid’s Tale all generated by a small team on the unassuming grounds.

In a short documentary, director Jeremy Benning tours the workspace— each room of the house functions as a recording studio and is insulated by an elaborate outer wall engineered to act as a buffer from outdoor noises—and speaks with three Foley artists responsible for enhancing audio experiences following filming. Benning goes behind the scenes with the company to demonstrate the laborious snd surprising methods used to artificially intensify the sound effects, whether as the clatter of a skateboard, the gnashing of a zombie feast, or the deviously subtle clip-clop of high-heeled shoes.

Watch the full documentary above to see more of the unusual techniques behind some of today’s most iconic productions. (via Short of the Week)

 

 

 



Design

A Chart Chronicles the Colors of Mister Rogers' Cardigans from 1969 to 2001

April 6, 2021

Grace Ebert

Image © Owen Phillips

It’s a beautiful day for a chronological look at the colorful range of cardigans beloved television host Fred Rogers slipped on during each episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Starting with blue near the beginning of the show’s run—the soft-spoken icon seems to have favored more pastels during these early days—the chart spans all the way to the red he wore for his last airing on August 31, 2001. Rogers’ legacy is synonymous with the cozy garment, many of which were hand-knitted by his mother. One is part of the collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

Pick up a print of the graph, which was created by Owen Phillips who runs the data-centric F5 Newsletter in honor of Rogers’ birthday on March 20, from the F5 shop. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 



Art History

Immerse Yourself in the 'Bob Ross Experience,' a Permanent Exhibit Dedicated to the Beloved Painter

November 5, 2020

Grace Ebert

Bob Ross on the set of The Joy of Painting. All images © Minnetrista, shared with permission

In the small city of Muncie, Indiana stands a three-story house with white columns lining the front stoop. Now unassuming, the brick structure formerly featured a sign at its entrance reading “WIPB TV,” denoting the camera crew inside recording beloved icon Bob Ross, who filmed more than 400 episodes of The Joy of Painting in the space from 1983 to 1994. Today, the house has been transformed to honor the legacy of the PBS artist, whose joyful manner and positivity inspired his devoted fans for more than a decade.

Formally called the Bob Ross Experience, the $1.2 million permanent exhibit and masterclass series pays homage to the painter by recreating the set where his soothing voice echoed instructions on blending pinks and blues for a sky or adding highlights. A rotating selection of his original paintings, like “Gray Mountain” and “Sunset Aglow,” line the home, which also features a 1980s-style living room complete with a plaid lounger. His personal items, including keys and hair pick, are on display, along with memorabilia celebrating Ross. Other than the artist’s palette knife, easel, and brushes, many of the artifacts are free to touch.

 

The studio

Opened in October, the museum is housed at the Lucius L. Ball House on the Minnetrista campus, a year-round gathering place with historic buildings, children’s entertainment, and workshops. About a half-mile up the street, the interactive exhibit continues in a building where “Certified Ross Instructors” teach masterclasses a few times each month. Participants are encouraged to embrace “happy little accidents,” just as Ross advocated in his episodes—many of which are available to watch on YouTube—as they paint serene landscapes, sunsets, and wildlife.

In the coming months, Minnetrista organizers plan to convert the upper levels of the house into gallery and studio space, according to The New York Times. To follow updates on the renovations or book your own Bob Ross Experience, visit the organization’s site.

 

Ross’s brushes

The Lucius L. Ball House, where Ross filmed The Joy of Painting

The entrance to the museum

The living room of the Bob Ross Experience

Artifacts on display in the museum

A Certified Ross Instructor teaches a masterclass

 

 



Illustration

Pop Culture Icons Undergo Taxonomic Studies in These Vintage-Style Illustrations

May 29, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Audrey II Study.” All images © Chet Phillips

How would you biologically classify a hippogriff? Austin-based illustrator Chet Phillips is offering his own taxonomic studies for some of pop culture’s most iconic characters as part of his Unnatural History series. Through vintage-style illustrations, the artist renders a flying monkey from The Wizard of Oz, Krampus, and The Lion King‘s animated duo Timon and Pumba complete with their identifying information.

You can browse the entire Unnatural History collection and pick up your own print on Etsy. Phillips also shares much of his work that’s based in contemporary culture on Behance and Instagram.  (via Laughing Squid)

 

Left: “Hippogriff Study.” Right: “Alien Study”

“Flying Monkey Study”

Left: “Skull Island King Study.” Right: “Krampus Study”

“Killer Rabit Study”

“Warthog and Meerkat Study”

 

 



Animation Design

A 3D Artist Imagines the Realistic Fossilized Skulls of Endearing Cartoon Characters

March 4, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Canis Goofus – USA, 1932.” All images © Filip Hodas

A Prague-based artist is memorializing some of his favorite cartoons with a series of convincing fossils that provide an unconventional look at the skeletons of animated characters. Filip Hodas’s Cartoon Fossils series features preserved skulls of Spongebob, Tweety Bird, and other familiar characters, accompanied by the years they first were spotted on television and their zoological names like Anas Scroogius, Homo Popoculis, and Mus Minnius.

The artist’s surreal compositions mimic the fossils and assemblages displayed in history museums, although Hodas said in a statement he wanted to add to their playfulness with bright, solid backgrounds. He also embellishes his characters with hats, glasses, and even stacks of coins to amplify their fictional roles.

Initially, I wanted to make them stylized as dinosaur fossils set up in a museum environment, but later decided against it, as the skulls didn’t look very recognizable on their own—especially with parts broken or missing. That’s why I opted for (a) less damaged look and also added some assets to each of the characters.

To create each piece, Hodas used a combination of programs including Cinema 4D, Zbrush, 3D Coat, Substance Painter, and Substance Designer. Find more of the artist’s work that intertwines history, science, and pop culture on Instagram and Behance.

“Mus Minnius – USA, 1928”

“Anas Scroogius – USA, 1947”

“Anas Scroogius – USA, 1947”

“Spongia Bobæ – USA, 1999”

“Homo Popoculis – USA, 1929”

“Homo Popoculis – USA, 1929”

“Canaria Tweetea – USA, 1941”

“Canaria Tweetea – USA, 1941”

 

 



Illustration

Tales From the Loop Enlivens the Gravity-Defying Dystopia of Simon Stålenhag's Illustrations

February 28, 2020

Grace Ebert

An uncanny television series is founded in Simon Stålenhag’s fantastical worlds. Covered previously on Colossal, the Swedish artist’s digital illustrations often position robots in open countrysides and consider the prosthetic capabilities of virtual reality. Tales From The Loopwhich gets its name directly from one of Stålenhag’s projects—is set in a fictional universe that explores the potential of merging technology and human curiosity in a futuristic dystopia.

Launching April 3, the television series is based on the understanding that “not everything in life makes sense” as it chronicles the lives of those residing in the Loop, a machine built to uncover answers to the world’s mysteries. It features a gravity-defying universe that sees floating objects, snow ascending from a pile on the floor, and pieces of a house ripped upward. Retro robots even foster relationships with the families and children immersed in the explorative environment.

For a deeper look into the inspiration behind the new show, check out Stålenhag’s book by the same name or head to his Instagram.

All images © Simon Stålenhag, from Tales From the Loop